tv Washington Ideas Forum Attorney General Loretta Lynch CSPAN January 2, 2016 4:51pm-5:16pm EST
it is hard to bring the basics of life together. individuals who went to different locations were plugged into networks of support that were stronger than they would've found in the ninth ward. so, our goal is not just to move people from their neighborhoods, our goal is to strengthen neighborhoods, to support people coming back into them. [applause] host: i want to shift gears. criminal justice reform. we are focusing on this just today, and i think there will be talks that either have happened or will happen. i don't have a schedule with me. ,enators booker and lee democrat and republican, they have criminal justice reform they are introducing t oday. 20 are mandatory sentences will be reduced to 15. judges will have more discretion to assign a shorter terms. there will be the ability should
prison programs, dealing with juveniles, new limits on putting them in solitary confinement. i supportive of the general goals of the legislation? loretta lynch: this represents an important opportunity for all of us to look at how we administer criminal justice in this country. it is the goal of the department protect theo american people in a way that is sufficient, transparent, and fair. sentencing reform has been a topic of great bipartisan discussion. the announcement today is a great step forward. we commend and think senators booker, lee, and the other senators who are working on this. a number of senators crossed the aisle to work on how to improve the system. a longtime prosecutor, i remember prosecuting cases where he looked at people who were being cycled through the system, nonviolent drug offenders who were facing severe mandatory minimums, either being deported or brought back home.
you could not see the utility in it. whereas, we really need to focus on the kingpin, the true leaders and organizers of the narcotics organization. the department of justice has been focused on this for a long time. holder introduced the "smart on crime" initiative, which redirected our resources in the narcotics area for nonviolent offenders into an area where judges and prosecutors had more discretion. a lot of that is mirrored in the bill. we are incredibly grateful to see that and we are looking working with all the senators. host: is there anything in here yet that you would like to see in the? -- the bill? loretta lynch: there are number number of people working on this on both sides, in both parties, with all their thoughts on reform. we look forward to more discussions.
host: let's talk about how this year has been about -- what this year has been about in terms of your relations with african americans and the police. you have been on a multi-city tour about this. you went to different places. i was struck by an a necdote. you went to birmingham, and a 15-year-old says, "i was raised to hate the police." loretta lynch: i have been on a six city community policing tour. we went to birmingham, cincinnati, east haven, and i got back from seattle and richmond. we chose these cities because they have a challenging relationship between police and the citizens. lawsuits, shootings, private investigations, the kind of relationship that you outline where residents talk about a
deeply ingrained sense of lack of trust. lack ofer issue is the connection, really, to the forces that should be protecting them. i was able to speak with young people in every city in which i visited. birmingham was rewarding, because that young person was involved in a program where high school students worked directly with police. we are looking for cities that have, as i said, a challenging relationship with law enforcement. to, they have found a way rebuild the relationship, to call themselves -- claw themselves back from the brink. to find a way in which, when problems develop, there is a chanism for discussion, transparency, and a working relationship with residents and law enforcement. the way birmingham has been doing that has been getting
law-enforcement to talk to rightly young people through exercises. they are involved in role-playing exercises. it is a way of breaking down barriers that are created by uniform, whether it is dress blues were baggy pants. people look at you from either side and make judgments, often about what you mean, what you want to do, your views about them. connectionsthose and letting people work directly peoplew enforcement, came to know that law enforcement was just like them. they have family, concerns, they care about what is happening to the people they are working with . the most successful exercise was role reversal. the young people play the role of police officers. police officer's play the role of rowdy teenagers who will not get out of the park. watching on people deal with that, first of all, the officers enjoyed it.
[laughter] younga lynch: watching people deal with that and having them come to understand how hard a job it is to be a police officer, how many things you have to think about and balance every time you interact with somebody, whether they are younger or older and how easy it can be to let a situation escalate and the importance of building those connections. host: we have a trust deficit in the statistics. of violent crime rates, but we do not have, and you tell me if the justice department will fix this, but there does not seem to be a uniform way to keep track of when a police officer discharges a weapon. -- i mean,eel as if right now the best statistic is done by a newspaper, based in europe, the guardian. that's kind of atrocious. loretta lynch: i think the
newspapers do a pretty good job sometimes. but, you raise an important point. seen, the things we have however, with the recent incidents captured on videotape, i think people have been able to see, in the larger communities, they have been able to see what members of minority communities have talked about for decades, if not generations about the different types of interaction with law enforcement, and whether or not an officer is trained in calming the situation down. it has been hard for people to understand, if they have not experienced it. so, while we do not have actual numbers-- host: why? is this something where congress has to pass a law, make it mandatory that all police -- you tell me.
what would you have to do to have the statistics at hand? loretta lynch: one of the things we're doing is working with local law enforcement. we work with local law enforcement in a collaborative manner. they reach out to the department for technical assistance, training, and sometimes we also, as you know, have police jurisdictions under our jurisdiction and enforcement actions. host: ferguson. am i right about that? loretta lynch: we issued a report on ferguson's practices, not just about policing, but the larger relationship with the municipality and the residents, which i believe, if you have the opportunity to read that-- host: it was really sad? frustrating, angry? loretta lynch: the real cause of the disconnect that many members of the minority community feel toward the police, the police
are the only face of the government they see. very often the police get the brunt of the frustration and the anger and the confusion and dissatisfaction over municipal policy, such as what we saw in ferguson. a consent decree or don collaborative reform we impose record-keeping requirements on police departments. no one likes extra paperwork. helpfuld it extremely to be able to indicate how many times a police officer simply interacts with a member of the community. times those interactions result in a ticket. how many times it results in an officer having to draw her weapon -- draw their weapon. there are some officers that did excellent job of recording how many times a shot is fired.
>> we don't have a national system on this. should we? >> one of the things we are focusing on is not trying to reach down from washington and dictated every local department how they should handle the minutia of record-keeping. we are stressing to them this -- these records need to be kept. the average size of the policed -- size of a police in this country is 55 people. say, not toto excuse not doing this, it is a very important tool for tracking these we encourage it. interactions. we are looking to encourage consistency of standards. you can get information from one department but if you can't match it up or married to other information it may not give you a true picture. the real issues s are important but the real issues are what steps are we all taking to connect communities
that often feel this in franchise and disaffected with the police and government? >> the rising crime rate. we have seen it here, a select number of cities here. milwaukee, 76%. murder rates. baltimore, 56%. have you found a trend yet? i know you are doing a summit in a week. is something happening out there? ms. lynch: every loss of life is a tragedy. i don't think we can confine anyone's death to noise. we are looking at this issue. we are looking to see if we identify the root causes of it. crime overall is down. we have persistent pockets where we see at times a resurgence in the violent crime rate. we're having a meeting next week.
we're inviting not just the mayors and police choose but the federal prosecutors of the cities affected by this to come to washington and sit down and talk about the trends they have seen. i directed the u.s. attorneys in jurisdictions where this was an issue to convene a local gathering and talk with their local law enforcement about what they were seeing on the ground. is it a methamphetamine problem? we have -- a heroine problem. candidates are hearing about it front and center. new england and new hampshire has this huge here when issue. ms. lynch: heroine and opioids in general is still with us. we have asked the u.s. attorneys to talk to local law enforcement.
is it an issue arising out of gang violence? it's going to be different for every jurisdiction. >> another theory is to do with as police have gotten a bad rap this year, do some criminals feel empowered? ms. lynch: when i have talked to police departments, specifically the six-time permits i have got to, community policing, the steps they are taking for de-escalation, they are cities were crime has gone down. police involvement is a helpful thing overall. that is what we are seeing. >> a lot of the focus has been about nonviolent drug offenders. one of the easiest ways you can clean this up is it the government rescheduled marijuana. marijuana is a schedule one drug. the equivalent of heroine.
more lethal than vicodin. should -- would it be easier to deal with this sentencing issue of marijuana were reclassified. ms. lynch: if you want to look at the population of people who have been subject to over incarceration at the federal level, we look at the situation from the societal cost in the financial cost. and the cost in human productivity. the majority of those individuals were victims of the cocaine and crack and balance. for us, at the federal level, we are looking at individuals, nonviolent offenders, not the king pins, not the importers of heroine and cocaine, that is the focus of the federal government. >> but if the reclassification of marijuana, would that make it easy for you to focus on the real offenders? ms. lynch: in terms of a federal prosecutor, we focus on those large-scale importers where the violence occurs.
unfortunately there is still a lot of violence associated with large-scale importation of marijuana. there is a lot of firearms involved. there is a lot of money changing hands. you will find that occurring. we focus on the larger scale dealers. in terms of rescheduling marijuana, we are looking at the nonviolent drug offenders who have been swept up in the crack and cocaine wars. a vital tool -- i remember those days. ira member the violence. ira member the fear in many communities. we're looking at the collateral consequences of those policies and trying to find a way to mitigate those. >> are you comfortable they are allowing the states to some marijuana legally, washington state? ms. lynch: states have to make
those decisions on their own. they listen to their citizens and take action. what we have said is states have to also have a system designed to mitigate violence associated with their marijuana industries and most importantly keep young people, children away from the products. the concern that we have, children gain access to products that look like candy or cookies and cakes. the purity is different and they are becoming very ill. we have concerns where a state that is not legalizing the substance sees people traveling across state lines to obtain it. we will still intervene in those areas. >> does there need to be tougher regulation?
you mentioned the candy issue. ms. lynch: we have a strong enforcement policy there. states need to have a regime in place to deal with these issues. the federal government is still intervening and looking at situations in cases where those are the issues. our overall call is the correction -- our overall goal is the protection of the american people. >> i will leave it there. >> tonight, a look at the criminal justice system and race relations. you will hear from a number police chief and state legislators from baltimore, south carolina, illinois, and st. louis, that is followed by portions of a conference on an issue hosted by the atlantic. here is new orleans mayor on efforts to reduce the prison population in his city.
>> when you talk to folks in neighborhood meetings, they will tell you. they know and everybody knows the more money you spend upfront, the less money you have to spend on the backend. the gentleman sitting on the side talking about the cost of crime versus the cost of , the cost of someone who killed somebody to someone who got killed and that ,erson who got -- who killed and the loss of his economic output is about $7 million. upn you start adding that and throw that into the mix you realize if you would have spent money on early childhood -- i thank you for
your applause but it actually gets a little tougher. if you would have spent it on the front end in terms of enrichment programs, recreation programs, and you nurture that , and we arer place formed into a great place and have a great opportunity, we usually produce a better result. >> a look at race relations tonight on c-span. >> c-span takes you on the road to the white house. rallies, and meet and greets. we are taking your comments on twitter, facebook, and by phone. cover ispaign event we on our website. republican presidential
candidate marco rubio of florida held a tan all for supporters on wednesday. he called for a constitutional effect that constitutional convention and set term limits for congress and federal judges. nationalics include security, immigration, education, and repealing president obama's health care law. this is just over an hour. if you see me turning around a lot, that is why. i want to thank you for your warm and hospitality.
i have been to lots of states. them.return to some of my wife told me to go buy a cold -- by a code. years in after 26 marriage, she still is to make sure i am warm. she said no, i don't want you to look like an idiot. i do have one of here. two real quick things, number one, i want to thank you for your courage and encourage you to keep fighting. what i mean by that is in south carolina it doesn't take a lot of courage to be a republican. every public office you can
think of is a republican. there are no democrats left for us to fight with in south carolina so we fight amongst ourselves. iowa is different. it is the quintessential battleground state and it can go either way in 2016. and it may well be that the white house depends upon what you do in iowa. i want to say thank you for the courage of being a republican in a state where it's not always cool and encourage you to keep working heading into 2016. the second thing i want to do is talk about 2016. you have an obligation to analyze and investigate candidates for yourself. i did not come from south carolina to tell you who to work for. it's important to me that we live in a nation that requires participatory democracy. you have a responsibility to educate yourself. i don't know what issues are important to you. i don't know how you prioritize those issues. how in the world can i tell you what you ought to do? what i can tell you is i've done exactly what i'm asking you to
do. i've looked at the candidates and i know what issues are important to me and i know i'm going to vote in the south carolina primary for marco rubio. national security is important. the two most important things a federal government does is provide for our security. i'm looking for a president that does not view as his main job bracketing march madness tournaments or sampling golf tournaments on the east coast. his main job is to provide for our national security. i've been hearing marco rubio talk for the last five years. he's an expert on national security.
there is no one running for president that is more knowledgeable, more principled and has taken the time to educate himself on issues of national security. so the three most important things in my life are my wife and two children and i'm looking for a president that's going to keep them safe. national security is number one. i include in that boarder security and interior security. i am the author of the toughest interior security bill you'll ever read. a sovereign nation has the right to determine who gets to come here, how long you get to stay and what we'll put you through to be here. it's a right to immigrate and sovereign countries have the right to determine who gets to come and who has the right to stay. we have the right to say like grandpa at christmastime, it's time to go, time to go home. if i were not 100% certain that marco rubio is committed and principled on the issues of national security, including border security, interior security and employment security, i would be in south ro